By Roy Mabasa
China lauded the Philippines for upholding an independent diplomatic policy and has expressed agreement with the Duterte administration’s statement which stressed that territorial disputes should be resolved in the spirit of good neighborliness.
In a press briefing, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said the China-Philippines relations have taken an upturn for the past one year.
Shuang said the two sides have “come back to the right track of settlement through dialogue, consultation and negotiation, established the China-Philippines bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue, and successfully held the first meeting of such mechanism in May.”
“With the concerted efforts of China, the Philippines and other ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized and taken on a good trend, and the framework of the COC is also concluded,” the Chinese foreign ministry official pointed out.
“These positive developments conform to the common interests of the two countries and peoples as well as the shared aspiration of regional countries, which marks an irresistible trend.”
He further said that while firmly upholding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, China has also been committed to peacefully resolving the relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned, the Philippines included, and working with the ASEAN countries to jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea.
“China stands ready to continuously work with the Philippines to properly solve the South China Sea-related issues through dialogue and negotiation, and further create sound atmosphere for the development of China-Philippines relations and relevant cooperation,” Shuang added.